Software Applications

Overview

ThinkVantage Presentation Director, or just Presentation Director, is a utility available on Lenovo and IBM ThinkPads that assists in connecting to a projector or secondary (external) display. On computers running Windows XP or Vista, when you hold the blue Fn key and press F7 (Fn+F7), it pops up a menu of display choices which we have customized for the most common projector resolutions at Carleton.

Contents

Product Details

A summary of the specifics of the product.

System Requirements

Presentation Director will only install and run on Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad (or ThinkCentre) computers, running Windows XP or Windows Vista. The ThinkPad must have a recent BIOS, the ThinkPad Hotkey Features utility, and the ThinkPad Power Management Driver installed. On Windows Vista Service Pack 2 and later, an extra compatibility patch is installed.

Licensing Information

This program is free to use on any Lenovo/IBM ThinkPad (or ThinkCentre) computers.

Licensing Restrictions

None

Usage Restrictions

None

Home Use

Same as campus use.

Lab and Classroom Availability

(unknown)

Installation Instructions

Labs and Classrooms

To request this software be installed on a refreshing lab/classroom contact xxx

College Owned Equipment

Presentation Director can be installed from the KBOX user portal , first by running the "Install Presentation Director" MI, then by running the "Presentation Director for User (2of2)" Kscript. It is supposed to uninstall any previous versions as part of the installation. If this installation does not work, check the System Requirements (above), and try uninstalling any previous version before retrying the installation.

Link to protected information for ITS instructions

Personal Machines

Presentation Director can be downloaded and installed by the Lenovo System Update utility. However, installed that way, it will not have the menu customized to match Carleton projectors.

Who To Call

ITS HelpDesk (x5999), and PEPS (x7070) fully support the use of this utility. Jim Pierret suggested the entries on the Carleton-customized menu, to best match campus projectors. Sande Nissen packaged this installation.

Questions, Tips and Tricks

Long, long ago, then you pressed Fn+F7 on a ThinkPad, it switched between three states: ThinkPad display only, external (secondary) display or projector only, mirrored display on both. ThinkPads without Presentation Director installed (or an older version) may still work that way. But Presentation Director, along with a recent BIOS, the ThinkPad Hotkey Features utility, and the ThinkPad Power Management Driver, provides a customizable menu when you press Fn+F7 that makes it easier to connect to projectors whose features are unknown.

This menu of choices was specified by PEPS for maximum compatibility with campus projectors:

The 1st choice should be the highest native resolution of the ThinkPad display, or whichever resolution the user likes to work in. The 2nd and 3rd choices have a 4 x 3 aspect ratio, and so will work best on the ThinkPad models with square-ish displays: T42, T43, T60. The 4th and 5th choices have a 16 x 9 aspect ratio, and so will work best on the ThinkPad models with widescreen displays: T60Wide, T61, T500. All of these choices mirror the ThinkPad display to the projector or secondary display. There are other options, usually called "extending" the display, that stretch the desktop across multiple displays.

If you run Presentation Director from the ThinkVantage menu under the Programs menu, it runs:

C:\Program Files\Lenovo\NPDIRECT\PDIRECT.exe /w

which is the same as press Fn+F7 then choosing Manage Schemes... From that window titled Manage Presentation Director Settings, you can enable and disable (check and uncheck) many other menu choices, including extending the display at different resolutions. You can even add you own entries to better match the resolution of your external display or your favorite projector. From that window titled Manage Presentation Director Settings,you can choose Options to export or import the current menu to/from a .npd file. The file Carleton.npd, downloaded as part of the installer, contains the menu shown above.

Technical Troubleshooting

Mirroring the displays like this only works if the resolution chosen can actually be displayed on both the built-in ThinkPad display and the secondary monitor or projector. If you get a black/blank screen with any menu choice, the screen with no image probably cannot handle that resolution. If you get a black/blank screen like this, choose another menu option right away, else you risk damaging one of the displays or projector. Except for the 2nd choice on a square-ish model, none of these mirrored menu options use the highest resolution of the built-in display. At lower resolutions, the ThinkPad display appears fuzzy to most people, which cannot be fixed.

Presentation Director assumes an analog (VGA) connection. A digital connection may result in this error message: "Your computer is not attached to an external monitor or projector. Attach one and then select this scheme again." Here is a technical note on how to fix this on the ThinkPad T500, which may work on other models.

Miscellaneous Information